Woo-hoo. March 1. My birthday month is here. I love birthdays. When I was a kid, my most memorable birthday was when my mom got me a Supergirl costume, complete with cape and red tights. I wore it everywhere. Even to the most inappropriate of places. Like to Sunday mass. Or at a wake. Watch out for the clumsy kid with messy pigtails and a dirty red cape, world. Birthdays remind me of the simpler, gentler world we sometimes ache for and worry we can no longer retrieve.
This year is a bit different though. Hala. Twenty seven. No longer in my mid-twenties, which is the 24-26 range. Twenty seven is late twenties, pushing thirty. Shake rattle and roll shocker: ME? thirty in just three years? I used to think thirty was ANCIENT. That was the age of my hopelessly-uncool math teacher in high school. Or the sexy older guy I was dating when I was sixteen, to the aghast gasps (which I read then as envious sighs) of my friends. Or Jesus Christ three years before he was nailed to the cross to redeem the world. When I was twelve, all I wanted was to be eighteen, so I could be Nancy Drew and have titian hair, solve the Secret of Shadow Ranch and still have time for my perfect boyfriend Ned Nickerson.
Haller. At TWENTY SEVEN, I still fall flat on my face (metaphorically AND physically, the last time being in IPD one Saturday afternoon with Bobby screaming, “ANG TANGA MO!”), still whine when Im hungry, still am afraid of ghosts, still believe false advertising claims (from advertising agencies as well as from men) , still eat potato chips for dinner and drink coke for breakfast, still make a wish and touch the color blue everytime the car stops right in front of a moving train.
At twenty seven, I don’t know a lot of things, but THESE I KNOW FOR SURE:
1. That one must live consistently, and that is actually harder than it sounds. Demand from yourself what you demand from others. To ensure that the rules are in place to protect you and those you love, ensure that the rules are in place for those you hate.
2. That there are few things more satisfying than realizing that you have reached the point when you can say “fuck off, your opinion means squat to me”.
3. That charity and justice are two different things and everything that we do, every good deed, must be animated by the latter rather than by the former. Charity can be legitimately withheld, depending entirely on the magnanimity of the giver; justice cannot. Justice distributes power; charity empowers only the giver.
4. That much too much capital is being put on love that is mad and passionate, when the search should be for love that is unconditional and pure.
5. That despite all the mess we’ve made, everything’s going to fix itself up nicely in the end.